Twins’ rookie tosses another sharp outing

The Associated Press
Kurt Voigt

ST. LOUIS–The way this major-league thing is going for Fernando Romero, the Minnesota Twins’ rookie might just stick around for a while.
Romero (2-0) followed his impressive debut a week ago with another scoreless outing last night, throwing six sharp innings to lead Minnesota to a 6-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in interleague play.
The 23-year-old right-hander permitted just three hits and struck out nine while throwing 97 pitches.
He extended his shutout streak to 11 2/3 innings to begin his career, building on a win over Toronto last week.
The victory was a season-high fourth-straight for the Twins, who have won 13 of their last 16 games against National League opponents dating to last season.
“I got all my guys behind me so I’m not scared to throw the ball over the plate,” Romero said.
“I’ve got nine guys playing with me, so they can get the ball whenever it comes.”
Romero had plenty of help in the field last night, most spectacularly in the form of Eddie Rosario’s home run-saving catch of Dexter Fowler’s drive in the first inning.
The left fielder was playing shallow with Fowler batting left-handed, but that didn’t stop him from tracking the shot, crashing into the wall, and reaching over it to take away what would have been a game-tying, two-run homer by Fowler.
“That was surprising,” Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny said. “It was amazing [Rosario] was able to get back on that ball. . . .
“That certainly took a little of the wind out of us.”
St. Louis had its season-best five-game winning streak snapped, one night after finishing a weekend sweep of the rival Chicago Cubs at nearly 1 a.m.
John Gant (1-1) gave up six hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings for the Cardinals, who managed only four hits.
Paul DeJong had three of those for St. Louis, which struck out 12 times.
Seven came on called third strikes, including three for Marcell Ozuna.
Five of Romero’s nine strikeouts caught Cardinals’ batters looking, thanks in large part to his upper-90s velocity and fine command.
Romero was signed by the Twins out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and entered this season as one of their top prospects.
After four appearances at ‘AAA’ Rochester to start the season, he was called up last week–and has put together two spotless performances since then.
“You don’t want to judge it too much on two starts,” said Twins’ manager Paul Molitor. “We like a lot of things he can offer in terms of how he has presence on the mound. . . .
“You’ve got to be pleased to come in here and play as clean a game as we did, and starting pitching is where it starts.”
In AL action yesterday, Texas topped Detroit 7-6 and Houston bombed Oakland 16-2.
Over in the NL, Philadelphia blanked San Francisco 11-0, New York edged Cincinnati 7-6, Chicago routed Miami 14-2, and Washington beat San Diego 8-5.